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Our Expertise


Our clients have deep subject-matter expertise on the issues and contexts within which they work, an expertise we should not and do not try to replicate. Rather, our clients value us as independent thought partners that add value by helping to clarify priorities, think through chains of causation, analyze new opportunities, and frame tradeoffs regarding organizational strategy, business model, and resource allocation.


Over the years and through extended engagements with multiple organizations, we have developed deep familiarity on a number of topics, including: financial inclusion, climate change and sustainability, aging, education and learning, and business solutions to poverty, among others.  We believe our core strength, however, is that we are skilled generalists with a demonstrated ability to quickly come up to speed on a wide range of social and economic challenges. We’ve found that the best strategies are often inspired by insights from outside the immediate domain of a client challenge. By integrating insights across sectors and disciplines, we help clients unlock new possibilities.

Hallmarks of Our Approach

  • Our approach is highly collaborative.  We accompany clients on a journey of critical reflection and creative exploration. Our job is to attentively listen, and then to question long-held assumptions from a fresh perspective. As outsiders, we can ask the difficult questions and facilitate a focused debate that surfaces new insights and unexpected pathways to impact.


  • We are problem-driven. Oftentimes, consulting firms come in with a pre-cooked “solution” to their client’s problems. We take the opposite approach. We start with the nature of the problem rather than justifying a pre-conceived answer or recommendation, and create a customized plan of action tailored to each organization’s distinctive vision, opportunity, operating context, and business goals.


  • We provide clients with a robust foundation for decision making.  We are clear on our role.  Our clients are the decision makers. Our job is to provide them with clear and sound analysis to make the best decisions, with confidence. Having guided many different types of organizations through a wide range of complex problems, we are adept at distilling the most relevant information and presenting the information in ways useful to decision makers. We also believe that you can only know you’ve made the best decision when you are clear on what options you did not choose, and why. Rather than advocating for a particular solution, we efficiently work with clients to develop a range of potential solutions and to systematically assess pros, cons, and trade-offs. Deliberately considering meaningful alternatives often leads to unexpected solutions that better address the challenge or opportunity.  This depth of analysis equips our clients not only to make purposeful choices, but also to adapt to future circumstances because they more thoroughly understand their context and strategic alternatives.

What to Expect From GivingWorks

  • We tap into the right expertise, we ask the right questions, and we help generate new and creative solutions to complex, long-standing challenges.

  • We are respectful and collegial, but also disciplined and focused on the end goal of helping you bring lasting change. Our process of inquiry allows us to test long-held assumptions (yours and ours), and bring candor and clarity.

  • Our client engagements tend to extend over time. We welcome the opportunity to see you through the full strategy cycle: framing problems, generating insights, and translating insights into meaningful impact.

  • We are trustworthy, ethical and deeply committed to your success.

Why GivingWorks?


A key challenge of strategic decision-making is coherently connecting the dots from problem diagnosis to strategy and implementation design to learning from results. Our distinctive mix of analytical skills, creativity, and organizational savvy makes GivingWorks a valuable independent resource and thought partner for our clients.


Analytical Rigor

  • We are structured and analytical thinkers with strengths in pattern recognition and idea synthesis that can help clients articulate and organize their expertise within a clear and compelling strategic framework. 

  • We view a problem or opportunity in the context of the broader system and its historical evolution. With this approach, we help clients unpack complex challenges, map a theory of change and critical drivers, consider the roles and responses of other actors, and anticipate unintended consequences of well-intentioned actions.

  • With complex social problems, the path from planning to implementation to results is rarely linear. Risks and uncertainties abound. We work with clients to identify key variables, anticipate potential obstacles to success, and ensure that their strategy is robust and adaptable.  



  • The fusion of a creative vision with clear logic is what distinguishes high-impact organizations from others. Drawing on decades of experience working across diverse issue and organizational environments, we infuse each assignment with an optimal mix of analysis and creativity, objectivity and emotion. We believe this makes us unique among strategy firms, and it is what our clients most appreciate about how we approach and work through challenges with them.


Organizational Acumen

  • We also bring organizational savvy, not in the design of organograms and process flows, but rather in ensuring fit for purpose: aligning capabilities with strategy; designing cost-effective business models; and developing practical results management tools.

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